Tim's Blog

Portugal revisited

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Richmond Wine Society met at the Britannia and Teddington Wine Society at the Landmark this week, and our subject was Portugal.

We have enjoyed Portugese wines at previous tastings, but this time I was determined to range far beyond the better known areas.  We started with a zippy Vinho Verde and moved on to a white from the Douro – a blend of those well known varieties Rabigato, Viosinho, Arinto, Códega and Moscotel – creamy texture, loads of fruit and heaps of character which for £11/bottle was amazing value.  At Richmond we included an oaked white (Verdelho/Encruzado blend) from the Dão region, southwest of Douro which was equally good but a lot pricier!  Our white exploration completed with a wine from the Azores – a first for pretty much everyone.  Delicate and floral with a salty tang – lots of sea food combinations came to mind.

Our reds came from Tejo (wedged between Lisbon and Alentejo), Bairrada (west of Dão), and back to the Douro Valley.  Lots more unusual grape varieties – Baga, Castelao, Alicante Bouschet, and finally a Tinta Francisca – of which there are only 40ha grown in Portugal (and none anywhere else), which was fabulous – but at £70/bottle this was probably the only time most of us will ever taste it.

We finished with a port, a late bottled vintage port from Quinta do Infantado.  Tradition combined with innovation – foot trodden grapes, long fermentation and unlike most LBVs not filtered, so it had to be decanted.  Despite being a bit drier than most ports of this style it was still delicious with a chocolate brownie, and a great end to the evening.

I love Portugal and its wines, and I hope this interesting and diverse selection of wines has produced some new converts.  There are still some places available on my harvest tour to the Douro Valley this September……

Wines are listed on the Wines we have tasted page.